Businesses should be intentional about their strategies, especially around intellectual property (IP), to drive sustainable growth and maintain a competitive advantage. Key steps include implementing formalized strategies and creating a culture of innovation, aligning short, medium, and long-term objectives for IP portfolio development, securing funding for IP initiatives, and establishing proper governance and portfolio management practices. These measures help businesses harness the value of their IP, ensuring efficient management and leveraging of assets for long-term success.


    It’s springtime and that means we often get a whiff of freshly cut grass and the sight of flowers beginning to blossom. Just as a gardener carefully selects and nurtures seeds, businesses should likewise create an environment conducive for optimal growth – and it all starts with being intentional about the strategies chosen to navigate the ever-changing market landscape, especially on those surrounding intellectual property (IP).  Otherwise you end up with an unwieldy, overgrown garden. 

    The role of IP has become increasingly critical in driving sustainable growth and maintaining a competitive advantage. Without a doubt, this intangible asset serves as a cornerstone of businesses today. Let’s look at 4 ways in which you can take advantage of IP and explore the strategic importance of each in scaling your business effectively. 


    1. Implement Formalized Strategies and Create a Culture of Innovation 

    Scaling a business involves more than just increasing revenue and expanding operations. It requires a concerted effort to formalize strategies and create a culture that values innovation. In the earlier stages, IP may be managed and created by only one individual.  As the organization scales, it is important to formalize processes for identifying, protecting, and leveraging IP assets throughout. 

    One pragmatic approach is to first provide IP awareness training to the other executives and employees. From there, you can build capacity by creating an IP governance team with diverse expertise to ensure that different IP considerations are properly integrated and managed. For example, this cross-functional team can include individuals from product development to marketing and sales. However, there should be one executive accountable for the IP strategy.  

    Formalized frameworks should also be created. Some examples include establishing an IP disclosure process to capture innovations, and implementing an IP policy to outline best practices, ensuring that these innovations are properly protected. 


    2. Leverage Short, Medium, and Long-Term Objectives for IP Portfolio Development 

    Effective IP management requires a strategic approach that aligns businesses’ short-term goals with long-term objectives. A robust plan would effectively create a sustainable way for companies to develop their IP portfolio, show value to shareholders, and minimize risk while scaling the business to new heights.   

    For instance, a start-up may have the following goals: In the short term, it could prioritize the protection of their core innovations and trademarking brands that are crucial for establishing market presence and differentiation. Medium-term objectives could focus on expanding the IP portfolio to cover emerging technologies or expand to foreign markets, while long-term goals might include licensing its IP to third parties for additional revenue, form strategic partnerships to bolster the company’s market position, or execute on an exit such as being acquired or an Initial Public Offering (IPO). 

    There are certainly various strategies out there, but it’s also important to note that not all may apply to your business. As such, we stress the importance of being intentional about building an IP strategy that aligns well with the company’s business objectives. 


    3. Secure Funding for IP Initiatives  

    It is no secret that along with growing a business, your expenses will grow as well, but strategically managing these expenses can be instrumental in fuelling sustainable growth and long-term success. When it comes to IP initiatives, it is important to keep in mind that it may require significant investments as costs associated with it can add up quickly especially with efforts such as building an IP strategy roadmap, drafting patent applications, filing trademark applications, prosecuting, and maintaining IP rights.  

    To offset the costs associated with these IP initiatives, know that there are various funding sources available to support IP development. These include government grants, venture capital funding, and strategic partnerships with investors and industry partners. An example of a Canadian federal funding initiative is the ElevateIP program which can cover up to $100,000 in IP-related activities. In addition, businesses can leverage their existing IP and showcase it to potential investors, demonstrating the value of their IP assets which can certainly help them secure funds required to drive further growth. 


    4. Implement Proper Governance and Portfolio Management Practices 

    As you prepare to scale your business, the volume and complexity of your IP assets can increase exponentially because of foreign filings, multiple patent families and various IP types to name a few. This makes it essential to implement robust documentation and portfolio management practices. Failure to do so can lead to inefficiencies, compliance risks, and missed opportunities.  

    By establishing clear processes around documentation and due diligence, businesses can streamline their IP operations. There will certainly be more paperwork involved as the number of assets increase and it can be challenging to monitor them all. However, there are IP portfolio management tools available to help organize upcoming deadlines and provide a way to track the entire IP lifecycle. It may also be more cost and resource-effective to have IP portfolio management experts conduct their due diligence on your assets so you can have one less thing to worry about. 



    In an increasingly competitive and dynamic landscape, IP has emerged as the cornerstone for scaling businesses. By implementing the right IP strategies, businesses can effectively harness the value of their intellectual property to drive sustainable growth and maintain a competitive edge as they realize the full potential of their assets. Hence, in the spirit of this season, let’s start thinking about how you can leverage your IP and start planning what your garden will look like and planting the seeds of success.  

    Stratford Intellectual Property comprises a team of experts who have and continue to support multiple clients in managing their IP portfolios so they can focus on growing and scaling their businesses. We also have certified patent agents and seasoned professionals experienced in all facets of the IP lifecycle. If you have any questions about building your IP strategy, reach out to us. We would be more than happy to join you on the ride in growing your business.  


    About the Author:


    Angelica Venes Angelica Venes is an intellectual property specialist and patent agent trainee at Stratford Intellectual Property. She works with clients in managing IP portfolios and developing effective IP strategies tailored to suit their business needs as she undergoes comprehensive training on patent drafting and prosecution. Driven by a desire for continuous learning, Angelica is set to effectively contribute to the intricate landscape of intellectual property as an intellectual property expert and patent agent. Despite having a background in life sciences, she is also actively involved in serving clients across various industries, expanding her expertise in providing IP-related advice on diverse technologies.